The Boston Bruins haven’t won a playoff series in three years, their longest streak since making it to the second round of the playoffs 5 of 6 years from 2008 to 2014. Two of those five were trips to the finals, including a Stanley Cup in 2011. Claiming Lord Stanley’s Cup while the Penguins and Blackhawks have been running rampant is no small task, yet the Bruins, along with the Los Angeles Kings are the only teams to have done it.
The era of Boston Bruins that won them that Cup back in 2011 has clearly passed, as the Bruins have been transitioning to a younger roster. The real question though, is: has that era of Bergeron-led offense truly expired forever?
Offensive Rating + Formula
Each player will have two ratings: a Current and Potential rating, separated by a comma.
Jake DeBrusk, for example, is a 4, 1?.
This means currently he is currently a fourth line forward, but has the potential to be a top line contributer. The question mark means he may drop a rating or two, but we lack to acknowledge player’s ceilings.
The Fs you see below represent Franchise Players.
Marchand F+, F+ – Bergeron F+, F+ – Pastrnak F, F+
Vatrano 3+, 2 – Krejci 1, 1 – Backes 2, 1
Beleskey 3v, 3v – Spooner 3+, 2 – Schaller 4, 3
Kuraly 4, 4 – Nash 3v, 3v – Acciari 4, 4
Czarnik 4, 3+ – DeBrusk 4, 1?
The Boston Bruins have the following forwards under contract until 2020: Stanley Cup Winners Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and Brad Marchand, as well as a new wave of Bruins offense: David Pastrnak, David Backes, Matt Beleskey, and Ryan Spooner. Those seven players should form an excellent foundation for at least three years, while younger players have a chance to develop. And believe me, there is no shortage of prospects in the pipeline.
The bruins have a strong, experienced core with a Selke winner complemented by an elite winger in David Pastrnak. Solid top-9 forwards like Backes, Beleskey, and Spooner provide a fine complement, and they’re all locked up for each of the next three seasons.
If any noteworthy offensive talent develops in Boston over the next few years, this offense could completely explode.
Forward Ranking: Elite (5th of 31)
Defense Rating + Formula
Chara F, F – Carlo 2, F?
Krug 1, F – McAvoy 2, F+?
Miller 3, 3 – McQuaid 3v, 3v
Postma 3, 3
Boston has Brandon Carlo, Torey Krug, and Charlie McAvoy as the successors to Zdeno Chara’s signature Boston Bruins back-end, and I doubt they’re unhappy with that.
Carlo, a serious snipe with the 37th pick in 2015, has jumped immediately into the NHL after three seasons with the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League. Last season he immediately earned 21 minutes of ice time per game while trailing only Zdeno Chara in PK minutes per game. He’s 6’5″, appears to be more than ready for the NHL, and could end up becoming a huge addition for Boston.
Particularly because our next topic is Charlie McAvoy. This is a kid who played two years of college, four games in the AHL, then averaged 25 minutes of ice time in the National Hockey League playoffs. He, along with Chara, led the team with over 23 minutes of even strength ice time per game. Granted it was only six games, but that trust is an incredible compliment to a 19-year old defenseman. He has franchise defender written all over him.
Which makes Torey Krug Boston’s former next big thing. He too made a splash as a playoff-born rookie, playing 15 games in Boston’s run to the Stanley Cup final in 2013. Now Krug handles roughly 18 minutes of even strength ice per game, and offers the Bruins a crafty quarterback for their power play. His man advantage production last year was elite, finishing 4th in the league with 25 power play points.
Chara scored 29 points last year and led the team in ice time, however he becomes a 40-year old UFA after htis season. . The giant can still bring it, though. If I’m Boston, I’m hoping another year or two is in the cards, because that’s a mighty fine start to a top-4 no matter which team you are.
Defense Rating: Strong (14th of 31)
Goaltending Rating + Formula
Rask F, F – Khudobin 2, 2
From 2009-2017, filtering for goalies that have played 300 games, Tuukka Rask is tied for first in even strength save percentage, tied for first in overall save percentage, and first by a mile in shorthanded save percentage, with an astonishing .950.
The Bruins are just fine in net.
Goaltender Rating: Elite (9th of 31)
David Pastrnak is 21 years old and scored 34 goals and 36 assists. Five players since 2007 have scored 34 goals just three years removed from their draft year: Steven Stamkos, Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, Jonthan Toews, and David Pastrnak. It’s pretty reasonable company. He dangles with the best, has a goal-scorers shot, and was signed to a great contract, locked up until 2023.
Jake DeBrusk, perhaps a fringe player for this year, is one of three consecutive first round picks the Bruins chose in 2015. He put up a point-per-game over his junior career, and had an excellent start to his professional career last year. With 49 points 74 games as a 19-year old pro, some further marinating in the AHL could be the best route. But it won’t be long until he gets a taste of NHL ice time.
Ryan Spooner has now played two full seasons in the NHL, with a 49-point season two years ago and 39 last year. He earned 12 minutes of even strength ice time and over two minutes of power play per game. The question is, is that the peak for the 5’10 center – a 14 minute per game power play center? His skill is undeniable, but at 25 years old there is still possibility for modest improvement.
5 Most Valuable Assets
RW, David Pastrnak F, F+
C, Patrice Bergeron F+, F+
G, Tuukka Rask F, F
D, Charlie McAvoy 2, F+?
LW, Brad Marchand F+, F+
Top 3 Prospects
D, Charlie McAvoy 2, F+?
RW, Jake DeBrusk 4, 1?
LW, Anders Bjork 4, 1?
The Bruins have done a stupendous job retooling their roster while keeping a former Stanley Cup core on reasonable contracts. They should be in the hunt to win the Atlantic this year, and continue to do so over the next three seasons at least.
Their defense group is in the top-half of the league already, and as Brandon Carlo, Charlie McAvoy, and Torey Krug continue to improve, they could push for top-10 or even top-5.
Offense: Elite (5th of 31)
Defense: Strong (14th of 31)
Goaltending: Elite (9th of 31)
Verdict: 1st in Atlantic Division
Playoffs: This year, and very possibly every year until 2021. The Bruins look ready to compete for a half-decade.